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Second string to tour Pakistan


CMC

Second string to tour Pakistan

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West Indies selectors yesterday belatedly named a 13-man second string squad for the historic three-match Twenty20 tour of Pakistan, with several leading stars opting out because of security concerns.

Captain Carlos Brathwaite, the hero of the Caribbean’s side T20 World Cup triumph two years ago, headlines the absentees, with Chris Gayle, Evin Lewis, Sunil Narine and Kieron Pollard all failing to make the trip.

However, veteran Marlon Samuels, along with regulars Samuel Badree, Kesrick Williams, Rovman Powell and Andre Fletcher, have made themselves available, while seasoned wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin returns to Windies colours for the first time in 17 months.

 

Debuts

 

Four uncapped players have been included in the squad, with Youth World Cup star Keemo Paul, Andre McCarthy, Veerasammy Permaul and Odean Smith, all poised to make their debuts in the shortest format.

Chairman of selectors Courtney Browne said his panel had “fully accepted” the position of those players opting out of the tour but believed the replacements were fitting.

“We had a few players that opted not to tour Pakistan, due to their or their families’ security concerns, and CWI have fully accepted their position,” Browne said ahead of the Windies’ expected arrival in Pakistan tomorrow.

 

Opportunities

 

“This series, therefore, provides opportunities for new players to state their claim for a regular place in the team, plus gain vital experience in different conditions. We expect the series to be highly competitive.”

The Windies series in Pakistan will be the first by a major Test-playing side since the terrorist attacks on a Sri Lankan team bus in 2009 which injured several players and left members of the security forces dead.

And while the Pakistan Cricket Board had confirmed the tour as early as last month, Cricket West Indies remained silent, with its first public acknowledgement of the series coming only three days before the opening match at the National Stadium in Karachi on Sunday.

In an effort to further assuage fears over the security situation, CWI chief executive Johnny Grave said the regional governing body had been assured by experts that the risk was “manageable” and could be “mitigated to an acceptable level.”

“This tour is a further major step for our friends at the Pakistan Cricket Board to bring their cricket back home, and we are pleased that our players and support staff have recognised this and supported this venture,” the Englishman said.

The squad will be led by 31-year-old Jason Mohammed, who has just six T20s to his name, following his debut last April. He served as vice-captain for the ICC World Cup Qualifiers in Zimbabwe but featured in only two matches.

Ramdin, dropped from all formats of the game in 2016, returns following a prolific first-class season, and Browne said the series offered the 33-year-old Trinidadian a new chance in Windies colours.

The squad: Jason Mohammed (captain), Samuel Badree, Rayad Emrit, Andre Fletcher, Andre McCarthy, Keemo Paul, Veerasammy Permaul, Rovman Powell, Denesh Ramdin, Marlon Samuels, Odean Smith, Chadwick Walton, Kesrick Williams. (CMC)

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